For years I've been meaning to visit Mayyim Hayyim, the transdenominational mikvah in Newton. I've seen pictures and heard stories; everyone tells me that it's beautiful, welcoming, and quite wonderful. Here's how they describe themselves:
Mayyim Hayyim is a 21st century creation, a mikveh rooted in ancient tradition, reinvented to serve the Jewish community of today.
Mayyim Hayyim is a resource for learning, spiritual discovery, and creativity where women and men of all ages can celebrate milestones like weddings and b'nei mitzvah; where conversion to Judaism is accorded the honor and dignity it deserves; where survivors of trauma, illness or loss find solace; and where women can explore the ritual of monthly immersion on their own terms.
(That's from their About page.) Early next week I'll get my chance: I'm going to be attending Gathering the Waters, the mikvah conference at Mayyim Hayyim. The conference will offer an "in-depth exploration of the contemporary mikveh in theory and practice," as well as a chance to "[l]earn with renowned scholars, clergy, and educators about how immersion can be a powerful tool for spiritual renewal, marking life transitions, and observing mitzvot."
The schedule looks terrific. I won't be able to attend everything, of course, in part thanks to my beautiful young man, who is ten months old. He'll spend Monday in a nearby daycare facility that's opening up just for conferencegoers' children, but I won't be attending any evening events, and on Tuesday morning I'm going to bring him with me and hope he'll permit me to pay some attention to the sessions! But even so, I think it's going to be a fascinating experience, and I'm looking forward to being there, meeting people, and having fun conversations about renewing this very old ritual.
I hope to be able to blog about some of what I learn during the conference sessions -- if not during the conference itself, then after I've returned home.
To date, all of my mikvah experience have been in Jewish Renewal contexts. My first mikvah happened before Shabbat at the end of my first week-long retreat at Elat Chayyim; since then I've come to eagerly anticipate mikva'ot with my community. (I've blogged about some of those experiences: two sweet mikva'ot back in 2006, the second section of this Moving into Shabbat post from Kallah in 2009, the "mikvah spot" story in 6 tastes of Ruach ha'Aretz in 2010.) I'm looking forward to hearing other people's mikvah stories, and to learning about how to lead the people to whom I minister into their own mikvah journeys, for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.
If you're going to be there, let me know -- or just come over and say hi! On Monday, I'll be the woman in the rainbow kippah with the laptop; on Tuesday, I'll be the woman in the rainbow kippah with the very sociable baby in her arms.